Create Your Own Protective Magic Item

A variety of materials can be used when it comes to creating a Protective Magic Item. The list below is not exhaustive, but can be used to generate ideas for the creation of the Protective Magic Item! When selecting materials, safe and durable items are strongly recommended.

-Pebbles/ Small Smooth Stones
-Markers/Crayons/Colored Pencils/Paints
-Pipe Cleaners
-Plastic Figurines
-Key rings
-Pieces of chain link

Administrators of this intervention are encouraged to be creative when picking materials; many other types of items may be created depending on the child and the situation. Some examples of these items may be magic capes or hats, amulets containing magic crystals, Monster spray (spray bottle filled with lilac-scented water to be used to eliminate monsters from closets and under the bed).

Introduction to Activity: At times, some of our favorite characters or superheroes have to use magic to protect themselves from the villain, or other things that scare them. Also at times when we engage in play such as video games, role playing games, storytelling etc. where we try to become the hero, we also collect items of magic to protect and strengthen us against our enemies. Sometimes it’s hard to talk about the things that scare us the most, or scary things that have happened to us. So we can all use the help of some magical items to protect us, an item that will keep us safe when we talk about the things that scare us, or the scary things we have been through in the past. Today you are going to create a magical item that will help you to talk about things you usually wouldn’t. While you hold the item you will be protected from the scary things you are talking about.
-Provide material for child to make their Protective Magical Item
-Provide any instructions necessary for incorporating items into the magic talisman or object. For instance, many children will not know how to string beads or fasten rocks to another surface. It may be necessary to demonstrate ways to use the materials for children who do not regularly exercise creative modeling.
-Allow the child 25 minutes to create their Protective Magical Item
-After the Protective Magical Item has been created, engage the child in a conversation about their creation. Below are some potential questions that could be asked:
-"What does your Protective Magical Item protect you from? "
-“Does it protect anyone, or just the creator?”
-“Do you feel braver while holding your item? In what ways?”
-“What can you do now that you couldn’t do before you made your item?”
-“What does it need for it to do its job, for it to work?”
-“How will your item help you when you are talking to me?”

Target Population:
Children ages 5 to 10.

Expected Results and Troubleshooting:
At times it may be difficult for children to trust the therapist, thus making it difficult to make progress in therapy. Similarly, children who have gone through some sort of trauma may have difficulty telling their therapist about their experiences, because of the fear associated with that event. Children often feel helpless and powerless in these situations, and may maintain that mindset when asked about their thoughts and feelings about their experiences. By creating a Protective Magical Item, the child would be able to rely on ‘magic’ and ‘imagination’ to create a sense of power and confidence, thus allowing the child to talk to their therapist more openly.

Having a protective item can also function as a transitional object for some children, and is often helpful where there was a failure in the child’s first maternal relationship (Winnicott, 1953). In order for it to be effective, this object should be able to withstand any affection and aggression (Winnicott, 1953). Having this object during the ages of 5-10 may also be empowering for children, allowing them to start a conversation about their concerns even if it is in a fantasy-world setting. It has also been shown that ‍‍‍when we create something in a fantasy world, information comes from reality to help form it. This transmission of information from reality to the fantasy world happens because the created fantasy object cannot be based on nothing. The information being transmitted is known as Endogenous information (Montola, 2008).‍‍‍ What is also important to understand and keep in mind when discussing the protective items with the child is that, like in most games, items are out “leveled” or graduated in power and that they allow us to take on bigger tasks without changing or upgrading the item. However, we do grow or level from these much like in Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development; these items help us reach a higher stage which we then master and move to the next step (Child Development Media, Inc., 2012).

This activity allows for a large amount of creativity on part of the administrator and the child. One common problem may be a lack of detail provided by the child about the magic item. As a result, the administrator should not hesitate to be creative or ask follow-up questions if the function and parameters of the item are unclear. ‍‍‍Information about the item should be specific and have clear uses/functions‍‍‍. Also, children may create miracle items that can completely resolve an issue rather than acting upon or assisting the child in resolving the issues. Items should foster continuous development and mastery of previously challenging tasks (Child Development Media, Inc., 2012).

Related Works:
Child Development Media, Inc. (2012) Play: The work of Lev Vygotsky. Retrieved from:
Harrison, E. (2005). Disclosing the details of child sexual abuse: can imaginative literature help ease suffering? Journal of Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing , 18 (3), 127-134.
Montola, M. (2008) The invisible rules of role-playing The social framework of role-playing process. Retrieved from
Winnicott, D. (1953) Transitional objects and transitional phenomena; a study of the first not-me possession. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 34(2), 89-97.

Originally posted on the Geek Therapy Wiki, hosted on the now-defunct Wikispaces platform, as part of Dr. Patrick O’Connor’s course Geek Culture in Therapy.